Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists
Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

When Puppy Comes Home

The most important time for you and your puppy to make a special bond is when your puppy is between 7 and 16 weeks old. This is the perfect time to establish clear expectations for their behaviour. Combine gentle guidance with affection to help your puppy to develop into a happy and obedient dog.

By the time your puppy has reached 7 weeks old, it has learned many things. Its mother has taught it basic canine manners and postures. Your puppy understands that a down posture indicates submission, and it has learned to lick a dominant dog around the lips to display respect for authority. Your puppy's littermates have taught it how to play without being too rough, and how to use its puppy voice and puppy teeth to communicate its feelings.

Your puppy's first night away from its mother and litter mates will be a very stressful time. Decide where the puppy will sleep. I recommend using a crate. Crates make you puppy feel safe and secure. Place the crate beside your bed. Put one of your T-shirts in the crate to allow your puppy to become familiar with your smell. All puppies cry the first few nights. When your puppy cries place your fingers into the crate. Often your touch will make them feel secure and they will settle for a quiet sleep.

Feed your puppy two or three times daily. Allow about 15 minutes for the puppy to eat. Any left over food can be given during the next meal. I like to soak kibble in warm water for a few minutes to soften it before giving it to the puppy.

House training should start right away. Dogs like to relieve themselves in the same area. Take your puppy on leash to a designated spot and wait until they eliminate. When they finish, say "good dog," and reward them with a treat.

Puppies don't like to soil their crates, so when they are first let out in the morning their bladders will be full and they will wet 2-3 times within a 10 minute period. Puppies will usually wet after each meal and when they wake from a nap. Watch for circling and sniffing. These behaviours usually indicate a puppy is looking for place to relieve itself. Never hit or punish your dog for accidentally wetting.

Tell your puppy when you are pleased with their behaviour. Puppies thrive on attention and affection. Be a good leader -- be firm, fair and consistent!

Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists